A couple of days ago I was mentoring a group of photographers from ThePrismGuild on a photo walk in the bustling bylanes of Avenue Road in Bengaluru. The photo walk’s theme was “Life on Footpath”. While a few participants were discussing amongst themselves on how to capture the street life, I on other hand was busy helping others on the technical aspects of the imaging world.
While we were almost at the end of the photo walk I bumped into this person who was sitting on the steps leading to a shop which was still closed. At first I spent a few moments staring at him thinking if I should click a picture or not, but after a while the visual elements of the picture started to crystalize. His silence, his posture and the closed shutters of the shop all started to collide and I realised I had to frame this moment. It took me less than a minute to get this framing and image.
But what has kept me hooked is the eerie feeling that certain images have on you. I always avoid shooting homeless people and beggars on the streets as a personal choice. But this man never fell into any of those categories compared to the many others I found on the same street. He was an impeccably dressed old man sitting there with his fingers interlocked and looking wistfully at the ground.
Even after 24 hours of shooting this image, my mind keeps wandering back to this image wondering what could have been running through his mind; why is he sitting there so lost and confused. I’m no Brandon from Humans of New York who goes and speaks to strangers on the street asking them about their best moments in life or the thing they regret the most etc., but somewhere deep within, I felt I should have made a conversation with him.
I still deeply feel he had a story to tell; he might/might not be sad, he might/might not be confused, he might/might not be lost; but he definitely had a story behind his silence. While I started thinking about what to write about this image, the first thing that came to me as a caption for the image as well as the title for the blog is “Beyond Closed Doors” which becomes very obvious because both the door and this person’s mind seemed to be metaphorically shut.
So tell me readers, how do you interpret this image? Photography is open to many interpretations and connotations and this is one picture that seems to symbolize it well.